For several years I wanted to return home to Jamaica for another visit, but circumstances kept me from doing so. Well, that day I wished for finally arrived in which I boarded the Boeing 737 jet, en-route to my homeland. I was happy because I was to see my brothers and sisters, whom I have not seen for quite some time and also my schoolmates. Except for a few bumps on the highway in the sky, the flight was okay.
As the plane approached the runway, I was alarmed but not overly, to see and hear the excitement of those whom were visiting the Island for the first time. “Look at the ocean, it is blue: the water is blue! The brother sitting next to me, he said it was his first trip. His brother was getting married at one of the Resorts on the Island, he said and he, his wife and their children were flying in for the wedding. I tried to relive his curiosity about the blue water by telling him that his eyes are not playing tricks on him: that what he has seen is really true. As we landed, I thank the Lord for safely taking us home after which I wished the gentleman and his family a safe and happy vacation.
On the afternoon of July 20/2005, after I disembarked and cleared customs, my brothers and friends were waiting for me with hugs, Guinep and Mangoes. That was to be the beginning of the grandest and most memorable trip I have ever experienced since I have been returning home to Jamaica. It only took about five minutes from the airport to where my brother and his wife, Cherry, lives. Once there, there was one, then two, then three, then four and now five. Yes, we were together again. All five of mother’s remaining children were assembled under the same roof; it was a great feeling!
I was the last of the five to arrive so I got the room next to the kitchen. Some thought it was a disadvantage but how wrong they were. Why? It was easy access to my nightcap of the hard-dough-bread; escovitch fish and home made mango and cherry juice blended together which my sister-in-law made. From that very evening, a twenty day non-stop feast began. Every morning at breakfast, we normally had three types of fruits, which include banana, Naseberry, Papaw and or watermelon: that was just for starters. The main dish would consist of roasted breadfruit, fried dumplings, Ackee and codfish, Steamed Callaloo with codfish, cooked banana which came from my brother and sister-in-law’s backyard. Oh, I almost forgot about the hard-dough-bread!
I believe it has been recommended by some folks that your first meal of the day should be the largest one. If they were around those twenty days I was there, they would have stood at one corner of the room looking at me with amazement. Where the other two meals of the day were concerned; I had no intention of letting up on good stuff such as, Baked or cooked sweet potato, yam, boiled breadfruit, dumplings, Ackee and codfish, bake or steam fish, curry goat. All of those things I dreamed and talked about while in Dallas, I got and much, much more. I thank the Lord for providing my friends and family, who were able to supply all of those things so I could eat as much as I wanted to.
Part 2. Has Jamaica Changed?
There is no doubt that you will get different answers to that one question, some encouraging and others; well, they will just turn you off from wanting to visit this beautiful Island. Jamaica has changed a great deal since I last visited her eleven years ago and may I quickly add that it is for the better! Despite the natural disasters she sustained, she is still making progress: especially in housing and in the structural development, like super highways, bridges and such.
Yes, it is also a fact, that a few places are left desolate but the amount of new structures which have been erected, they way out-numbered those that are in dilapidated conditions. Unfortunately I did not have the chance to visit all the fourteen parishes, but of those I visited, if overall they tell a true story, then Jamaica is a whole lot better. Its people have nothing to be ashamed of except for the crime rate but all across the globe, everywhere you can think of, that is causing major problems to government leaders and to society on a whole.
Jamaica has not lost her beauty; her greenery is still intact; except for those places where greenery once flourished, beautiful houses and giant structures are now erected and I call that progress.
I visited the educational facility at Tucker-Irwin and I was amazed to see where it was sitting: Right there within the woods. Take for instance those rolling hills, which are protecting the Bay of Montego, from Reading to Mango-walk, especially at nights, these hills are lit up with all sorts of lights. The sheer beauty is breath taking and the lens on one camera would not be able to capture it all at once.
I just tried in a small way, through my limited eyes to describe one city to you but this pattern is true throughout the Island. From Cornwall, Middlesex to Surrey, you will find these giant oases, which are packed with colorful attractions. Day or night, there is something available for all. As far as I have seen there is still room for more development, just as long as we leave sufficient land for agricultural purposes, we will be okay.
Those of us who have lived away or have been visiting Montego-Bay for the past twenty years or so can truly see the changes. The famous Creek Street smelly water, which once ran across town, is now covered; parking lots and business are sitting on top of it. Although it took the St James Parish Council half a century to have it fixed, they finally did. Hoo-ray to those who were involved: I must say you did a good job. Whenever people enter that section of the city, both visitors and Islanders alike, they are now able to breathe more freely.
My final day on the Island started early. I got up at 5:30 AM Wednesday morning. I had to roast breadfruits to take back with me. As I sat watching the outdoor fire I built, I continue to meditate on the twenty days of vacation, and how it went by so quickly. My brother Hugh joined me shortly before 7:00 AM. We sat and chat ted for a good while. While sitting there with him, it occured to me that I have been on the Island for nineteen days and I have not seen a doctor bird. (Hummingbird) I expressed my disappointment to my brother about not seeing that special bird and within the span of five minutes, there appeared one not too far from where we were sitting, believe it, a doctor bird!
There it was, drinking the nectar from the blossom from one of the Noni trees at that. At first I was shocked and overjoyed and in the same breath I lifted my eyes to the heavens and thanked the Lord for answering this simple prayer. Well, come to think of it I did not even ask Him, I only wished it, and just as how He provided the sunshine that morning, He provided the doctor bird for me to see. Isn’t He wonderful?
My trip to Jamaica served three purposes. It was a grand school reunion, a homecoming and mini family reunion. I had the chance to meet some my relatives for the first time. Schoolmates I have not seen for forty five years. Some friends I have not seen for many years; which I love and hold so dear; they were there. Oh I tell you, it was marvelous and grand!
Jamaica is always waiting to welcome home its children and visitors alike to her beautiful blue water shores.
How sad it is for those who are unable to return home at their own leisure. May they always be encouraged as they from afar, watch her flourish and grow.
I am grateful to God that I am one of the privileged, who were able to go back home.
Jamaica is truly, “The Island in the Sun”
I love the sunny shores of Jamaica. I am always happy to
go back home, to plunge in the clean blue water.
Oh how I love to walk up the Dunns River Falls.
Come to pretty Jamaica man!